Posts tagged with "Rhino":

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Tiled Topography from e+i studio

Fabrikator

e+i studio of New York won a design competition for their concept of a trade show pavilion made entirely from Italian tile.

Crafting a memorable and intimate environment within voluminous convention halls can be a daunting challenge. To establish a meaningful presence in such environs, Ceramics of Italy tapped into the A&D community with a competition in 2012 for unique booth designs to showcase the products of its manufacturers. Piazza Ceramica, designed by e+i Studio and fabricated by A&M Production, won the competition. Its proposal was installed at the Coverings Tile and Stone trade show in 2012 and 2013. Inspired by Italy’s social culture, architects Ian Gordon and Eva Perez de Vega used the idea of a public space to showcase tiles produced in Italy for a bespoke, modular pavilion that houses a multi-function program of a café, information kiosk, and restaurant. The design utilizes a topographical approach to build up the pavilion’s perimeter with seating and display installed product. “From the beginning, we started to look at the topography in a series of parametric studies to determine the optimal stair/riser ratio to integrate the substructure of the two mounds,” said Perez de Vega. “From there, we wanted color to be an important component to showcase the qualities of the tile to transition smoothly from intense greens to reds to whites.”
  • Fabricators A&M Production
  • Designers e+i Studio
  • Location Orlando, Florida; Atlanta
  • Date of Completion March 2012
  • Material tile, grout, wood, raised flooring system
  • Process CNC mill, water jet cutting, Rhino, Grasshopper, AutoCAD, Photoshop
While parametric tools played a large part in developing the piazza, the designers say the use of Grasshopper was more instrumental than generative. “The digital tools were used where it was useful, but there was also a lot of hand tuning and fine crafting,” Gordon said. “Modeling the project digitally streamlined the initial process. We were able to study more variations in less time to rule out options that didn’t look right.” The digital processes was also essential to the off-site fabricators who are located in Reggio, Italy. From New York, e+i Studio was able to communicate with their Italian team in a short period of time, with exact specifications for each element of the piazza. “The thickness of the mortar, the sizing, had to be as precise as possible and digital fabrication was critical to this,” explained Perez de Vega. “We produced construction documents but the most reliable source was our 3D documents, and the fabricators understood exactly what we were trying to do,” added Gordon. The pavilion was designed as a three-dimensional puzzle, as the temporary installation would be reconfigured for three years in various exhibition halls. A CNC-milled wooden grid forms a shell to support tiled surfaces that grow upwards as seating risers, ultimately cantilevering over the base. Both mounds are mirrored copies so they can be reconfigured for any environment. With the end result, the designers were struck by the juxtaposition of centuries-old materials and new technologies, such as water-jet cutting and digital modeling. “At the beginning, we felt unconstrained about tile being rectilinear, knowing that digital fabrication would let us create what we wanted,” Gordon said. “Infusing the project with curves was possible with digital drawings and communication.”
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A Game of Cat’s Cradle with yo_cy

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Kenneth Tracy and Christine Yogiaman of yo_cy applied research from working with concrete to dispel the singular material tendency of digital fabrication.

Out of 68 submissions from 17 countries across four continents, the winning proposal of Tex-Fab's APPLIED: Research through Fabrication competition at the University of Texas at Arlington came from Kenneth Tracy and Christine Yogiaman of yo_cy, a collaborative design studio that utilizes digital techniques for maximum design effect. Their winning idea is called Cast Thicket, a study in tensile concrete that takes off in variations like a game of Cat's Cradle. "The initial idea was to apply our research toward the competition," said Tracy. The designers used their experience with an Indonesian material called bilik—a soft, woven bamboo mat typically used as a vertical divider—that helped form a fabric, cast concrete wall for a residential project in Southeast Asia. "We wanted to make something from a construction material that is normally very heavy looking [and] invert the stereotype of the carved aesthetics of concrete to create something that is lacy, thin, and delicate."
  • Fabricators TOPOCAST
  • Designers Kenneth Tracy, Christine Yogiaman
  • Location Arlington, Texas
  • Date of Completion February 2013
  • Material limestone powder, white fiber reinforcement, Poraver glass beads, metakaolin, superplasticizer, .03-inch plastic
  • Process Rhino, Kangaroo, Grasshopper
While most concrete molds utilize steel or plywood casing, Tracy and Yogiaman opted for a .03-inch thick plastic that deforms once filled to create a unique textural detail not unlike the bamboo Indonesian mats. To design the columns and create variations in their diameter, yo_cy used Kangaroo. This plugin for Grasshopper simulates the surface shrinking and swelling typical of concrete, giving the designers a good idea of how their project would look when completed. The duo hopes the successful use of a thin, recyclable plastic mold could reduce the environmental impact of site-cast construction in the future. Cast Thicket is composed of 44 struts that intersect at several nodes. The struts are reinforced with a cage flat steel and thin steel tubes spanning between a wooden pallet base and capping sheet. Within the nodes are moments of tension, where the lacy network of lines are gathered together. "You can see this in Kangaroo like a set of strings, like a Cat's Cradle game," explained Tracy. "The idea is that a system can deal with contingencies of a complex architectural form. Rather than make a space with the piece, we wanted to create a set of conditions, like a network that proved its own variability and flexibility." The designers wanted a lightly colored material, something stronger than traditional cement that would pick up light and shadow, thus highlighting surface details. They chose an aggregate of materials void of dark tones, including limestone powder, white fiber reinforcement, Poraver glass beads for weight reduction, and metakaolin—a common material in porcelain. A superplasticizer that reduces viscosity binds the mixture. "It helps to see the way materials behave in construction, but physical testing is critical," said Tracy of Cast Thicket's ability to bear weight. "[With this project] we are reacting to the singular material tendency of digital fabrication and [we have shown that] we can use the computer to coordinate different methods of making a material, and simulate that on a smaller scale."
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Learn Parametric Design From the Pros at Facades+PERFORMANCE On April 11+12

parametric_wkshp_01 We know you've seen those sleek parametric designs that are all the rage in cutting-edge architecture, but have you ever wanted to make your own? Venturing into the software zoo of Grasshopper and Rhino can be daunting on your own, and understanding algorithms and computational geometry can sound like Greek to the uninitiated. Luckily, parametric expert Ronnie Parsons of Mode Collective has joined the upcoming facades+PERFORMANCE Conference taking place in New York City next week, April 11 and 12, and will help guide beginners into the exciting world of Parametric Design. With a focus on fundamental concepts and workflows for creating performance-based design models with the parametric design tool  Grasshopper for Rhino3D. Parsons' Technical Workshop, Introduction to Parametric Design, will guide participants through a series of exercises designed to emphasize the relevant applications of parametric design for professional practice. Register today for the Introduction to Parametric Design workshop and the facades+PERFORMANCE before space fills up. There are 8 LU AIA CE credits up for grabs, so head on over to the facades+PERFORMANCE homepage for more information.
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Pyramid Scheming with Michigan Architecture Students

Fabrikator

Two students in the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning designed a textural, horizontal installation with complete transparency.

When Harold-Sprague Solie and Geoffrey Salvatore developed their decorative 12- by 5-foot ceiling installation Stalactites for a graduate course with Tsz Yan Ng at the University of Michigan's Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning, the goal was to produce a design and fabrication process with an accompanying detailed set of documents. "We wanted to take the focus away from just the object at the end and go through a set of drawings to help [the viewer] understand the installation and bring him or her into it," said Salvatore. He expressed the desire for complete transparency, since architecture tends to conceal the labor details, and explained that this process helps expose some of the hidden logic of the project. So while the drawings began as aids for viewing and understanding the project, they became useful as Solie and Salvatore went through the design process. "[As we worked] we'd have these drawing to fall back on; to rediscover ideas, to catch mistakes and reveal things we'd have missed," Solie said.
  • Fabricators Harold-Sprague Solie, Geoffrey Salvatore
  • Architects Harold-Sprague Solie, Geoffrey Salvatore
  • Location Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Date of Completion November 2011
  • Material Bristol board, paint
  • Process Rhino, Illustrator
"It was important to work back and forth between the physical process and the [digital] drawing process," Salvatore added. The overall project was modeled in Rhino, while the drawings were produced and tweaked in Adobe Illustrator. The piece itself is composed of four truncated pyramidal units made from Bristol board, the largest of which measures 12 inches on each side at a height of 9 3/4 inches, while the smallest measures 6 inches on each side at a height of 2 5/8 inches. Each shape was drawn to include fastening tablature that eliminates fastening materials. "Each piece has a male and female tab and each tab on each side allows it to aggregate with other pieces," Solie said. "They're organized around the largest piece that has six connections, as opposed to three on the others, and are arranged in a way that supports a universal connector." Starting with the originating piece, Solie and Salvatore worked their way out from the center. "That allowed later orientation of individual pieces for the form we wanted," Salvatore said. "We had seven of the big main pieces and the other pieces radiated out from that." Part of the advantage of working with a firm paper like Bristol board was the flexibility it afforded for mock ups, of which there were plenty. "We went from fabrication to drawing, then back to the fabrication, back to drawing," Solie said of the process. "There's a logic to the aggregation to avoid dead ends. We'd mock up a set of 10 or 15 and once we'd hit a dead end we'd go back and solve the problem." Each of the four patterns were laser-cut onto the Bristol paper, which maximized efficiency. In addition to reducing manufacturing waste, each element can be nested when unfolded. Originally, the team experimented with Yuppo, a thin gauge plastic, but had to abandon the material because the tabbing was problematic and did not support their desire to refrain from introducing other materials. The paper's lightweight made it easy to hang Stalactites 10 feet off the ground, though the designers predict alternative materials like light plastics or aluminum could be suitable.
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Aidlin Darling’s Ribbed Canopy

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With the help of Laser Alliance and Chris French Metal, Aidlin Darling Design crafted a hanging ceiling canopy composed of 180 wooden ribs.

Wexler's refined spin on farm-to-table barbecue in San Francisco's financial district offers guests an authentically char-grilled dining experience, minus the smoldering cinders. Inspired by its progressive grill menu, local multidisciplinary firm Aidlin Darling Design dreamed up a 46-foot-long billowing ceiling canopy that hovers over the dining room like a plume of smoke. The feature also extends to the exterior, doubling as an awning over the main entrance that beckons passersby. "The original design, based on an undulating plane of smoke, was designed in both AutoCad and Rhino, [using the] lofting feature that extrapolates geometry between two curves," said Adrienne Swiatocha, project architect for Aidlin Darling Design. The canopy’s softly curving profiles at the exterior and at the end of the wall were hand-drawn. The architects used Rhino to amplify and adjust these curves throughout the center portion of the canopy. This varying amplitude echoes the way smoke dissipates across a room. "[Then], we sliced the three dimensional plane every few inches to generate a bunch of curved line profiles, and offset it by 5 inches to create a second, curving, thickened line."
  • Fabricator Laser Alliance, Chris French Metal
  • Architect Aidlin Darling Design
  • Location San Francisco
  • Date of Completion 2009
  • Material 3/4-inch MDF, 3/4-inch MDO, carbon steel, paint, bolts
  • Process Rhino, AutoCad, VectorWorks, laser cutting, bolted installation
Once a 3/4-inch profile had been achieved for each of the 180 ribs, an inverted J-shaped hook was carved into the profile of each slat so every piece could be hung from a metal rail system. "For each slat, you can take a point from the J-hook and let Rhino extrapolate a profile that connects those hooks so they slide," Swiatocha explained. The architects also added notches in each hook to prevent them from slipping. "It was really challenging because the ceiling was low and had exposed ductwork, sprinklers, and lighting. All those conduits run beneath the joists so we had to design our system around those preexisting elements." In addition to providing easy access to the ceiling, the system of ribs also made for a speedy installation on-site and a clean look that didn't use invisible fasteners. To produce the ribs, which are made from medium density fiberboard (MDF) and medium density overlay (MDO), the Aidlin Darling team contracted the services of Alan Vien at Laser Alliance, who tested both laser and CNC cutting methods before suggesting laser fabrication for speed and cost savings. "Material can sometimes become charred with lasers but, because we were painting each rib, that wasn't a problem," Swiatocha said. The teams chose MDO for the exterior ribs due to the material’s durability and weather resistance. Both MDO and MDF ribs were painted the same charcoal hue. Each rib hangs from a metal rail system that was fabricated and installed by Chris French Metal of Oakland. Laser-cut, carbon steel rails were screwed to a plate stock metal hanger, and then bolted to the ceiling joists. "Both the right and left rails in this case had arcs of different radius lines that weren't symmetrical," said Chris French of the challenge presented by the wooden canopy's irregular volume. The studio generated an install image in VectorWorks with a datum line. "While installing the hanging bars, we would measure from the center line of the bracket to that datum line, plus or minus, according to that drawing." Once the metal rail system was installed, the ribs, which were sequentially numbered, were hung from front to back by one person on a ladder in a matter of hours. "It was fun to see it go in so quickly," said Swiatocha.  
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Tietz-Baccon Dials Down The Volume in a Textural Chicago Office

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Tietz-Baccon fabricated a 7-foot by 23-foot freestanding wall, and a 10-foot by 160-foot decorative wall for Enova's Chicago offices.

As more and more companies embrace open workspaces that support collaborative and impromptu group work, acoustics are of utmost importance to employee productivity. To craft sound-absorbing feature walls for the Chicago offices of financial firm Enova, Brininstool + Lynch turned to fabrication studio Tietz-Baccon. Their six-person facility in Long Island City, New York, makes bespoke solutions for a variety of design-minded clients who appreciate—and ultimately benefit from—the founders' architectural background: Erik Tietz and Andrew Baccon met as students at Harvard's Graduate School of Design. "On the fabrication end, we take nonstandard projects and make them achievable by relying heavily on our digital capabilities," Baccon said. "Brininstool + Lynch had a concept that was worked out very well and was looking for someone who could execute on a tight budget in a short period of time." According to Baccon, the architects came to the fabricators with a family of shapes and a way of aggregating them, which was then applied to different materials, helping Tietz-Baccon deliver finished projects very close to the firm's original requests. "There was good collaborative discussion, and a back-and-forth to tweak and bring the concept to realization. They didn't have to compromise their idea that much."
  • Fabricator Tietz-Baccon
  • Architect Brininstool + Lynch
  • Location Chicago
  • Date of Completion July 2012
  • Material 3/4-inch MDF, 3/4-inch Micore, aluminum laminate, aluminum
  • Process Rhino, CNC milling, water jet cutting, assembling with screws
A free-standing "stack" wall serves as a spatial divider that doubles for heavy-duty sound mitigation. Realized in Micore® mineral fiberboard, 3/4-inch strips of the porous and lightweight material were CNC-milled to form a 7-foot by 23-foot wall between a cafe area and workstations. Selected for its acoustical absorption, exceptionally light weight, and varying density availability, Micore® had an appealing tactile quality that agreed with the architects' design. "All the selected shapes are related and contribute to material efficiency," Baccon says. "We extrapolated [from that premise] to tweak the scale and amplitude of the surface but tried to remain true to their initial approach." The "fin" wall, the larger of Tietz-Baccon's contributions at 10 feet by 160 feet, also serves to soften noise from bouncing off the preexisting wall. Three-quarter-inch strips of MDF in dozens of individual sizes are installed as a series of sets to produce a unique rhythm. Raw material was juxtaposed against lacquered MDF at the bottom that alternates for textural variation as well as durability. Each "rib" can be removed to replace bulbs in the concealed lighting scheme or for necessary repairs, and the lacquer safeguards the MDF from task chair run-ins or related daily impacts. "The most interesting part of this was trying to use the material in a slightly different way without affecting the durability or lifespan of the project," said Baccon, referring to the unconventionally exposed edges. "There is a strong presence of other materials, for example bespoke concrete next to highly refined acrylic panels with backlighting, so it's the juxtaposition of the really refined next to the raw that helps us understand the materiality." The architects introduced their concept for the fin wall with 2D drawings. Tietz-Baccon modeled the third dimension in Rhino and realized the final product with a CNC router. Each rib fits within a registered slot on an aluminum laminate track, and is locked into place with a shelf plate at the bottom. The entire system is secured with a series of water jet–cut aluminum mounting fins screwed into the preexisting wall.
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Veyko’s Four Star Installation for Le Bernardin

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Veyko's custom metal screens are composed of 284 aluminum strips, each containing several varying 45-degree angles.

After 25 successful years, it was time to update the interior of Le Bernardin—a New York restaurant renowned for its constantly evolving menu. Owners Eric Ripert and Maguy Le Coze turned to New York-based architecture firm Bentel & Bentel Architects & Planners to design an interior that matched its trend-setting carte du jour. Part of the sophisticated new palette includes three metal screens that offer privacy and transparency in the main dining area, a new lounge, and the entry foyer. To craft the screens’ 284 undulating aluminum strips and frames, the architects turned to Veyko, an ornamental metal fabrication studio outside of Philadelphia. Jumping off from a two dimensional drawing, Veyko owner Richard Goloveyko said the specific form of the screens developed organically through the design and fabrication process. "We spent a lot of time establishing our ability to bend each bar consistently," he said. "One of the intricacies of the project was keeping the bends consistent to form a pattern; if a bend isn't consistent it can start to read."
  • Fabricator Veyko
  • Architect Bentel & Bentel Architects & Planners
  • Location New York
  • Date of Completion August 2011
  • Material 3/8-inch thick aluminum bars
  • Process Rhino, SolidWorks, twisting metal, assembling with screws
Veyko developed a custom-bending jig to achieve each 3/8- by 3-inch bar's unconventional twist along its approximately 11-foot length. Unlike traditional ironwork, where a bar would be manipulated through multiple 360-degree rotations, each strip turns in varying directions at 45-degree intervals. "It keeps reversing on itself," Goloveyko explained. The machine that Veyko developed allowed its technicians to lay a bar of metal down for twisting and bending without ever having to take the piece out of the machine, ensuring that all bends were produced simultaneously. Traditional bending jigs require a technician to insert the bar, apply the desired bend, then sequentially slide the bar along to initiate the next point of manipulation. At best, it is a challenging process to produce a consistent bend across 284 pieces, Goloveyko said. Compared to similar Veyko projects, the development process wasn't as digitally intensive as other designs the company has worked on. Aside from modeling each screen in Rhino, the only other digital software utilized was SolidWorks to design and laser-cut the custom gears for the machine. "Within the custom jig, the force required to develop that unique twist had to be magnified or geared," Goloveyko said. "We developed a system of gears that would give a technician leverage to force that bar into shape." The single feature of the interior that remained unchanged after the renovation is the restaurant's wooden ceiling, which presented several challenges when installing the screens. Due to inherent unevenness in the preexisting coffers, two screens float in front of the walls, resting on setting blocks and captured by a channel to keep them from destabilizing. The top of each 32 1/2 by 11 1/2-foot and 8 1/2- by 11-foot screen is screwed to the wall. The 22- by 12 1/2-foot window installation in the lounge presented fewer difficulties, and was easily mounted within the window recess. In addition to Le Bernardin's Michelin-star accolades and a number of James Beards Awards for cuisine and service, the redesign also earned Bentel & Bentel Architects & Planners the 2012 James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant Design. The architects are currently considering Veyko once again for similar work on a project in Chicago.
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TED Fellow Skylar Tibbits Leads April 12 Workshop

Did you miss 3-D printing guru Skylar Tibbits at this year’s TED conference? Never fear, there’s an opportunity to hear Tibbits in New York City on April 12. And not just hear but participate in a hands-on workshop that Tibbits will lead as part of Facades + PERFORMANCE, a two-day conference on high-performance building enclosures sponsored by The Architect’s Newspaper. Earlier this week at TED, Tibbits gave 3-D printing another dimension, quite literally, when he presented the possibility of "4-D printing," or programming materials to self-reassemble into new structures over time. Tibbits unveiled a 4-D printer concept developed with MIT that he argues could have far-reaching implications for not just manufacturing but also for architecture. Will architects one day be able to design structures that build and mend themselves? Here's the idea, as Tibbits told TED: "If we combine the processes that natural systems offer intrinsically—genetic instructions, energy production, error correction—with those artificial or synthetic—programmability for design and scaffold, structure, mechanisms—we can potentially have extremely large-scale quasi-biological and quasi-synthetic architectural organisms." Trained as an architect and a computer scientist,  Tibbits directs MIT's Self-Assembly Lab and teaches in the school's architecture department. He got his start working with the likes of Zaha Hadid and Asymptote Architecture, later founding SJET LLC, a multidisciplinary research based practice. Along the way, Tibbits was named a "Revolutionary Mind" by SEED Magazine in 2008, and in 2011 he was awarded a 2011 TED Fellowship, becoming TED Senior Fellow in 2012. At his April 12 workshop, Tibbits will introduce Python for Rhino, a program that has been a foundation of his work, and cover covered topics ranging from Running Scripts, Syntax, Data Types, and Variables to Flow Control, Tuples/Lists/Dictionaries, Points/Vectors, Functions, Paneling and Recursion. The training portion of the workshop will concentrate on IronPython within Rhino. To register for the workshop and for the April 11-12 conference, where experts in the industry will analyze, discuss, and dispute the development, implementation, and maintenance of facades, click here.  
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Twaddle and Topocast Make Houston Textural

Fabrikator

Topocast and Randy Twaddle used Rhino to produce a 3D version of a 2D pattern. The 3D model became a 3D print, which was used as a prototype for casting 65 sculptural tiles.

The entrance portal of Mirabeau B, a 14-unit residential complex in Houston’s Hyde Park neighborhood, is home to a 7-foot-high, 25-foot-long white wall of deeply textural tiles. Each tile is 20 inches square and features on its surface a three dimensional pattern that resembles nothing so much as the carapace of a Sci-Fi race of crab creatures. In fact, the pattern was derived from a photograph of a power transformer and its tangle of intersecting wires atop an electric light pole. It was worked into its current condition through a collaboration between print and textile artist Randy Twaddle and Dallas-based design and fabrication studio Topocast. Twaddle had used this image to generate several of his designs for wall coverings and rugs and the like. In this instance, he manipulated the image until arriving at a pattern that could be repeated and assembled modularly in a system of tiles. Twaddle delivered the 2D pattern to Topocast, which began to develop a workable 3D version. “Most of the 3D was done in Rhino,” said Topocast founder Brad Bell. “We also used the Rhino plugin T-Splines to create the intricate curvature and geometries.”
  • Fabricator  Topocast
  • Artist  Randy Twaddle
  • Location  Houston, TX
  • Date of Completion  2013
  • Material  hydro-stone
  • Process  Rhino, T-Splines, 3D printing, silicone molds
Topocast created a series of surfaces from the 2D image that could be extruded or manipulated to create the expressive curvature of the 3D tile. The fabricator then went through a process of prototyping with CNC milling machines and 3D printers. It also experimented with a variety of materials, including concretes, resins, and woods. In the end, the team decided on hydro-stone, one of the strongest of all gypsum cements. Topocast created the final prototype from a nine-part 3D print made directly from the Rhino files then assembled to appear as a single, seamless tile. This prototype became the cast for a series of silicone molds. “The reason we went with silicone rather than a urethane mold is that, while silicone is less durable than urethane, it does provide a greater range of material options,” said Bell. “Certain resins have a chemical reaction with urethane.” Topocast cast 65 of the tiles at its shop in Dallas. Each tile weighs 40 pounds and has a surface depth that varies from 2 ¾ inches to 5 ¾ inches. The fabricator prepared an A cast and a B cast, each with identical surfaces, but differently spaced bolts imbedded in the back. This variation allowed for exactly calibrated spacing on an off-the-shelf Unistrut mounting rack. The team attached 60 of the tiles to the Unistrut mounts in 15 separate columns, each four tiles high. The columns were then shipped to Houston and bolted onto the wall of Mirabeau B’s entrance portal. Twaddle and Topocast are currently working on refining the tile to make it viable as a commercial product. “We’re working on how to lighten the tile, how to make it smaller, and we’ve done some demonstrations with LED lighting that projects different colors across the surface,” said Bell.
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INABA Creates a Cylindrical Beacon For A Norwegian Concert Hall

 
Fabrikator

INABA's inverted chandelier comprises a steel frame clad with aluminum tubes and activated by LEDs.

Both simple in its geometry and intriguing in its illumination, a massive new lighting installation in Stavanger, Norway, aims to activate the lobby of a concert hall and create a welcoming civic gesture. Designed by New York-based INABA, the cylindrical structure responds to its setting in a variety of ways. Cutaways in the cylinder reveal views out for visitors inside the concert hall and also reveal slices of the dynamic LED lighting inside the structure to people outside the concert hall on the plaza. Jeffrey Inaba, principal of INABA, calls the installation Skylight, and refers to it as an “inverted chandelier.” The light is reflected within the rings, rather than out. The outside is coated in glossy white to reflect the warmer daylight and ambient light in the building. The design of Skylight is meant to function as a recognizable figure for the building, which was designed by Oslo-based Ratio Arkitekter.
  • Fabricator  DAMTSA
  • Architect  INABA
  • Location  Stavanger, Norway
  • Date of Completion  January 2013
  • Material  Hollow tube steel, 1-inch-square-profile aluminum tubes, LEDs
  • Process  Rhino, rolled steel, standardized connections
In order to make the maximum impact given the constraints of a public art budget, Inaba and his team worked closely with the well-known Argentinian fabricator DAMTSA, which fabricated the exterior panels at Neil Denari’s HL23. By keeping the geometry simple—just a cylinder with cutaways—Inaba was able to standardize the curvature of the installation, which simplified the process of rolling the hollow tube steel frame. One-inch-square-profile aluminum tubes clad the exterior of the cylinder, connected to the frame with standardized attachment details. DAMTSA and INABA worked together on several prototypes before ultimately settling on the cladding system. INABA designed Skylight in Rhino and collaborated with Buro Happold on the steel structure. The 22-foot-by-38-foot permanent installation, which weighs 6.5 tons, is suspended from the ceiling by a double pin connection. The angle at which it hangs is determined by the weight of the structure. It aligns with the angle of incidence of the sun, which allows the structure to have the fewest possible shadows throughout the day. The LED lighting scheme, animated by New York–based MTWTF, within the rings changes for intermissions, curtain calls, and when the hall is not in use. INABA decided to use pure white and aqua marine light so as to differentiate the installation from the warmer house illumination and the famed Nordic light. Mezzanines surround Skylight on three sides, giving concertgoers numerous vantage points to view the piece as well as the landscape beyond. For INABA, the piece suggests a way to move forward in their approach to architecture. “We’re interested in how do you take the constraints of costs, construction techniques and turn that into a conceptual framework,” Inaba said. “Skylight is not a piece of architecture, but it shows how we are pursuing architectural practice.”
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Ellipses Collide in Mathematically-Inspired Installation at the University of Oregon

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SubDivided provides a unifying element in Fenton Hall's three-story atrium, tying each level together visually.

In December 2012, the University of Oregon completed a renovation of Fenton Hall (1904), which has been home to the mathematics department for the past 35 years. In addition to sprucing up the interior and upgrading the mechanical systems, the institution hosted an open competition for the design of an installation to hang in the building’s atrium. Out of roughly 200 initial applicants three were shortlisted, and of those the university selected a design by Atlanta-based architect Vokan Alkanoglu. Composed of 550 uniquely shaped aluminum sheets, the 14-foot-high by 10-foot-long by 4 ½-foot-wide sculptural form is derived from the curving geometry created by several opposed ellipses—a nod to the discipline that calls Fenton Hall home. “We wanted to create something that would be visible on all three floors of the atrium to connect the levels and create flow in the space,” said Alkanoglu. “We also wanted to have an interior to the piece, so that you could see inside and outside, to give it a real sense of three dimensionality.”
  • Fabricators MAC Industries
  • Architect Volkan Alkanoglu
  • Location Eugene, OR
  • Date of Completion  December 2012
  • Material   .04-inch-thick pre-painted aluminum
  • Process  Rhino, Grasshopper, CNC routing, riveting
Alkanoglu and his associate Matthew Au modeled the piece, named SubDivided, in Rhino, using algorithms to define the curved surfaces that link each open ellipse. In addition to giving the sculpture a sense of depth, the curves also add to its structural integrity. Alkanoglu tessellated the surface with perforations to keep it lightweight and increase its visual permeability. Once he had defined the form, Alkangolu transferred it into Grasshopper, breaking the model down into 550 unique sections. Each piece was given tabs with holes in order to make connections with rivets, and assigned an identification number. Alkanoglu transferred this subdivided version of SubDivided as .dxf files to local fabricator, MAC Industries. MAC fed the files into its CNC routing machines, which cut the profiles out of .04 aluminum sheets pre-painted in two colors—the University wanted the sculpture to have a duotone appearance, matte gray on the outside and white on the inside. Once cut, the sections were given a non-scratch coating and labeled with stickers. To assemble these puzzle pieces, Alkanoglu recruited three architecture students from U of O. In a shop, the team set about the work of peeling off the non-scratch coating, rolling the sections to give them the requisite curve, and connecting them with rivets. The team assembled the piece in four chunks, which they then transported to the site, where a scaffold had been erected in the atrium. The four larger pieces were connected atop the scaffold and the entire assembly was attached to the ceiling with three narrow-gauge galvanized cables crimped to steel plates inside the sculpture. According to the calculations of the project’s structural engineer, Buro Happold, SubDivided weighs a mere 56 pounds. “It’s kind of like a research project," said Alkanoglu. "A small prototype that could move into a larger building, maybe a facade, or an atrium for a bigger building, which hopefully will come in the future.”
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Utile Makes a Splash With Digitally Fabricated Pavilion in Boston

Fabrikator

The Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion roof channels rainwater for irrigation on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Jump on a ferry in Downtown Boston and in twenty minutes, you’ll arrive at the Boston Harbor Islands, an archipelago of 34 islands dotting Boston Harbor managed by the National Park Service. To entice city-dwellers to make the trip, Boston-based Utile Architecture + Planning has designed a composite steel and concrete pavilion with a digitally fabricated roof for the National Park Service and the Boston Harbor Island Alliance to provide travel information and history about the Islands and a shady respite atop the highway-capping Rose Kennedy Greenway. Two thin overlapping concrete canopy slabs supported by delicate steel beams provide a sculptural shelter. Utile digitally designed the $4.2 million Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion using Rhino to respond to the surrounding cityscape and serve as a playful rainwater-harvesting system to irrigate the Greenway’s landscape.
  • Fabricators S+F Concrete, C.W. Keller, Malay Laser, Turner Special Projects
  • Architect Utile Architecture + Planning
  • Location Boston
  • Date of Completion  June 2011
  • Material   Reinforced concrete, steel
  • Process  Rhino, laser-cutting, CAD-CAM bending
Initially working with a fountain consultant, the design team experimented with the shape of the roof deformation that guides rainwater to a catch basin. The roof’s unique shape was determined using digital models and by rolling BB’s over physical models to gauge how water would eventually behave on the surface. “We realized in modeling the pavilion that the water would ‘prefer’ to follow the same axis through both pavilion roofs,” Tim Love, principal at Utile, said. “Turning the curve would have created unintended consequences in the flow of the water.” The final shape propels water from the symmetric top roof, onto the asymmetrical lower roof, gaining speed as the concrete pinches together and funneling down to what the architects described as a “giant scupper,” finally cascading into a sculptural catch basin on the ground designed to create different splash patterns depending on how hard it's raining. “The roof pinches in as closely as possible to control the flow of the water,” Chris Genter, project architect at Utile, said. The arc of the water had to be precise enough to land in the catch basin, “like water pouring from the spout of a pitcher.” Supporting the two 40-foot by 60-foot roofs, a series of steel beams form a sort of Gothic tracery, splitting in half to reduce the effective span of the concrete and minimizing the overall depth of the slab by requiring less rebar. The roof slabs vary in thickness from three-and-a-half inches at the perimeter to five-and-a-half inches at the center. “We were always interested in making the primary material concrete with as slim a profile as possible,” Love said. “The concrete structure enters into discourse with the heritage of concrete architecture in Boston and responds to the heroic modernism of Boston City Hall.” “The steel beams offered enough repetition that they began to look like contour lines,” Love said. “They allow you to more easily read the curve of the slab.” Each metal band, what Genter described as a sort of steel “fettucini,” was fabricated directly from the digital model, first laser cut and then bent to the correct shape using CAD-CAM technology. “You typically don’t see these kind of geometries in permanent structures,” Love said. “There was a lucky convergence of high ambitions all around.” In generating the digital model for the pavilion, the team had to ensure that the data was clear for the multiple fabricators involved in the process. “The curves had to form a describable surface,” Love said. “The model and its geometries had to be translatable to different fabrication processes. The model for the project literally became the model for fabrication.” Working with two separate materials built from the same digital model presented real world challenges when fitting the two together. “The project required more craft in the field than we initially thought,” Genter said. Each steel beam is made up of four pieces welded together and required more room for error in fabrication. On site, the wooden concrete formwork was subtly changed to adapt to small variations in the shape of the steel. “The answer was to get fabricators on board who can get our model translated into the final product,” Love said, explaining that working with contractors on digitally fabricated projects can be a learning experience for everyone involved. “There were a lot of subspecialties working together.” Concrete contractor S+F Concrete brought millworker C.W. Keller on board to create the elaborate wooden mold for the concrete slab. For most of the surface, deformed plywood was used, but as the curve approached its spout, a custom mold was required. “The curve was beyond the tolerance of plywood,” Love said. “Every single piece of plywood in the formwork was pre-engineered before it arrived.” Once on site, the individual pieces were fit together like a puzzle.